Espresso Imperial Russian Stout - Stone Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Espresso Imperial Russian StoutEspresso Imperial Russian Stout

Educational use only; do not reuse.
BA SCORE
96
world-class

2,683 Ratings
THE BROS
97
world-class

(view ratings)
Ratings: 2,683
Reviews: 361
rAvg: 4.34
pDev: 7.83%
Wants: 208
Gots: 413 | FT: 42
Brewed by:
Stone Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  11.00% ABV

Availability: Limited (brewed once)

Notes & Commercial Description:
Beer added by: WillCarrera on 04-17-2013

This beer is retired; no longer brewed.

No notes at this time.
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 2,683 | Reviews: 361
Photo of brutusmuktuk
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Amazing beer. Has a jet black color with a foamy brown head. Aroma is coffee and malts. The taste is espresso coffee with some malt and chocolate. The beer goes down smooth and has a nice full body feel. One of the best beers I have ever had - almost perfect in every category.

Photo of JMScowcroft
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Stone Brewing Co. - Espresso Imperial Russian Stout

Even though we get this up in my neck of the woods, it flew off the shelves too fast for me to snag it and I had to obtain it via trade. I am glad I did!!

Look - Pours jet black oil slick with a thick massive mocha head that dissipates quickly but has a slight retention. Rings and chunks of fresh lacing. Great looking RIS.

Smell - Rich espresso and mocha, complex aroma even when cold, but it develops as it warms for sure. Almost hhas a creamy sweet of Hershey kisses here, decadent and delightful.

Taste - Rich and creamy, a complex mixture of the espresso, milky chocolate, mocha, fruits, brown sugar, and caramel.

Mouthfeel - Somehow not that boozy at a whopping 11%, but it is a tummy warmer! Rests rich and creamy that fades into espresso bitter. Surprisingly drinkable for the style, some are and some aren't, this one is. Thick, chewy body.

Overall - What is there to say, this is a perfect brew in this style with a unique twist, I would definitely buy this brew again whenever I see it and I would 100% recommend it.

Photo of CrazyHarry
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

This beer pours black as night with a thick beige, tan head. Aromas of espresso beans, chocolate and roasted malts. Flavor is much the same but even more intense with a nice full body. The espresso beans mask the alcohol but really compliment the roasted malt and chocolate flavors. Another fantastic beer from Stone!

Photo of acevenom
5/5  rDev +15.2%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into a large snifter glass. The beer pours black with a thick, creamy tan head that dissipates slowly. Some tiny bubbles are rising along the side of the glass, indicating some carbonation. Some lacing is left on the side of the glass during consumption. The beer smells like dark roasted malts, chocolate, and coffee. The smells are bold and roasty. I don't smell any alcohol. The first sip is like taking a swig of espresso, which is big and roasty along with the dark and roasty malt backbone and the chocolate. Like the aroma, the flavors are bold. They're also straightforward, but still very flavorful. One thing that I can't taste is the alcohol, which at 11% is very well masked in this beer. The body is full with moderate carbonation. The beer is smooth and dangerously easy to drink. This is an excellent beer and another winner from Stone.

Photo of BurgeoningBrewhead
4.99/5  rDev +15%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

Poured into snifter. Oily jet black with a medium thick dark brown head that sticks around. Smells of metallic roasted malts and black coffee/espresso, with some chocolate sweetness hiding behind it. Taste is mind-blowingly good; the first thing that hit me was the super thick mouthfeel, this beer needs a steak knife. Then espresso and bitter roasted malts play off each other before sweet caramel smooths things over, but bitter coffee and chocolate get the last word in. A sticky bittersweet aftertaste is left. Outstanding beer, this one.

Photo of BergBeer
4.96/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Poured form a bomber into a Stone RIS glass

A: Opaque black with a thick and creamy mocha head. Poured like motor oil!

S: Pungent! Deep and complex. Makes me want to dive head first into the glass. Tons of coffee, coffee cake, chocolate ice cream, dark fruits, chocolate covered cherries, espresso, and more coffee cake. Smells outstanding!

T: Poseidon's Trident this is tasty! Taste like biting into chocolate coffee cake. Getting, roasted malt, coffee cake, chocolate, dark fruit, fig, espresso, more chocolate, and rounds out with more coffee cake. So decadent its like biting into a rick chocolate cake covered in espresso. Sinfully sweet but not too much. Literally just right.

M: Smooth as all hell. For a beer with big with this beg of an ABV it goes down like silk. Coats the entire mouth and goes down with the slightest heat. Smooth sinful sipper.

O: So well crafted and balanced. Easily one of my new all time favorites. Sweet but not too sweet, thick but goes down creamy, 11% ABV but just the slightest hint of booze. Perfectly balanced and masterfully crafted. Do yourself a favor and get it. For the 7 bucks i payed i felt like i stole it! Outstanding!

Photo of J_Dub
4.94/5  rDev +13.8%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A- Pours a pitch black with a tan head. The head dissipates quickly and leaves slight lacing.

S- Espresso, malts and chocolate in the aroma all the way through. There's a roasted quality that tricks you into thinking you're in a coffee shop. A slight sweet caramel aroma is also hidden behind the roasted qualities. Exactly what's expected from an espresso RIS.

T- Similar to the aroma. Roasted coffee beans, chocolate and malt dominate. The caramel like sweetness hides in the back. Alcohol heat is present but daftly hidden behind the complex flavors. The aftertaste is the same as if you just finished a sip of coffee. Bitterness is balanced by other layers of flavor.

M- Creamy. Not quite syrupy. Very little carbonation. Alcohol heat shows up in the finish. Sticks to the roof of your mouth.

Another home run from Stone. This brew is everything I was hoping it would be. I couldn't ask for anything more from an espresso RIS than what Stone has delivered. Combined with the fact that this is only $7 this beer is perfect. I'm hoping I can buy a few more bottles to age and see what flavors develop.

Photo of WreckedPalate
4.93/5  rDev +13.6%
look: 5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

serving 20oz bomber.

Appearance on this is BLACK as all hell.

Smell is rich with espresso and chocolate with light vanilla under tone. Maybe some caramel.

Taste is massively espresso such just like the nose, everything matched how it smelled.

Mouth feel with near perfect, I personally think if it had just a little less carbonation it would have been 100% perfect.

Photo of vfgccp
4.91/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

A - Spot on for an RIS. Pitch black with virtually no highlights. Head is a fine dark khaki mousse with nice retention and ok lace.

S - Dry espresso beans, molasses, chewy black licorice, brown sugar, chocolate ginger bread, and a touch of cinnamon. Booze as it warms.

T - Outrageous flavor. Deep espresso loads onto your palate, supported by thick molasses, burnt caramel, and rich cream. Booze warms the back of your throat before mellowing into a thick, dry finish.

M - Chewy, super smooth body.

O - A perfect espresso stout, in the same class as Souther Tier Mokah.

Photo of mschind
4.91/5  rDev +13.1%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 5

22oz bomber into a pint glass.

A- Dark and thick with a great looking but short head that forms a lasting cap that looks just like the crema on good espresso.

S- Coffee, chocolate and roasted barley.

T- Rich coffee, sweet at the start and then some mild bitterness. It has a creamy quality with some vanilla notes.

M- Full bodied plus. Smooth carbonation with some alcohol warmth in the finish.

O- I'm a coffee lover and this beer is the most coffee like I've ever tasted. Outstanding.

Photo of AndyAvalanche
4.89/5  rDev +12.7%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

Situations like this really make me hate Stone Brewing Company and all of their "Arrogance" that comes with the label itself.

22 oz. bomber poured into a Duvel Tulip style glass. While pouring the liquid seems to come out a dark cola color, but as it pools into the glass it really looks like a jet black color. I gave it a reasonably aggressive pour which resulted in a huge dark tan bubbling head with various sized bubbles. The head eventually dissapates to a ring that grips to the glass and that portion stays for the entire session. Decent lacing, but could be a little better.

Smell is pretty outstanding. I always thought the regular version of this stout has coffee in it, but it's intensified here. First whiff gives you a nice slightly more bitter than sweet dark chocolate followed be the hints of coffee. I say hints of coffee, because the coffee is overwhelmed by the aromas of espresso. As indicated on the label, this beer is clearly brewed with some type of espresso bean, and my guess is since it's brewed by Stone, it's some type of high class espresso bean.

I was on the fence on this one, because I think Stone's regular IRS is perfect the way it is, but I decided to treat this as a "coffee/espresso" style stout and give this a perfect rating, because it truly is about as perfect a flavor you can get from a espresso style stout. Lots of (again) more bitter than sweet chocolate. After that it's followed by a nice rich coffee and espresso flavor. There's a feint sprucey hop finish at the end that meshes together perfectly with everything, totally digging it. This is about as perfect a coffee style stout as you can get.

Mouthfeel is awesome, without a doubt full bodied, the flavor lingers for quite some time. Gentle carbonation provides a nice smooth feel with a rich yet fresh bitter finish from the coffee/espresso and whatever hops may have been used. I would not doubt that this would be a high alcohol beer, but by tasting it by itself I would not have guessed 11%, I would have said a little lower, something I think Stone is good at when it comes to their stouts. Drinkability is crazy good here, I love the way this one is all the way around. As I said before I hate Stone Brewing sometimes, they will regularly brew a one time only beer that is so good, it should be rotationally brewed, and this is another that should be added to the list.

Photo of ISmith87
4.88/5  rDev +12.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a 22 oz bomber bought at BevMo in Phoenix, AZ today, excited to try this one since I love Stone's IRS! It says it had several hundred pounds of coffee beans from Ryan Brother's Coffee added to it.

A - Jet black, medium brown/dark khaki head that starts off at 1 finger and dissipates down to a thin film of bubbles on top of the beer.

S - chocolate, vanilla, cream, hints of roasted/chocolate malt, tiny bit of dark fruits/fig newton smell there too

T - More of a roasted coffee bean flavor upfront with some chocolate, vanilla and creamy flavors. The espresso is definitely there, but more like a hint of it rather than just straight coffee flavor. When I was younger I used to love Mocha Stouts, Chocolate Stouts and Vanilla Porters but beers like this really those seem completely bland now.

M - creamy, heavy beer, abv REALLY well hidden, as far as beers go, if you've never had one like this, it's like a perfectly mixed mudslide

O - This beer is amazing. I wish I had their standard IRS side by side with it to compare, but from what I can remember this is a slight step up from an already awesome beer. The ABV is just slightly higher at 11% (compared to 10.6), and the flavor is a little more complex/chocolate-coffee oriented.

It says on the side of the bottle to buy a case and try one every 4-6 months to see how it ages. I'm definitely gonna do it and see what happens...

Photo of ohiobeer29
4.85/5  rDev +11.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

had this randomly as one of thr workers at the market was talking about it.i thought what the heck I'll give it a try. first time i tried this one my taste buds weren't cultured enough.luckily i bought 2 bottles.I tried the second bottle a week later and was blown away at how good this beer is.I'm not a coffee drinker but enjoy an espresso once in awhile. the fact this is a stout is perfect. good mouth feel.taste great great balance between taste and alcohol perfect i would say.everyone should try this beer at least once.smell is espresso and alcohol slightly.pours a dark black

Photo of StanP
4.84/5  rDev +11.5%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

One of my favorites. Everything about this says enjoy.

Photo of Tsar_Riga
4.83/5  rDev +11.3%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A - Lovely black pour with a full, tan head.

S - The smell of coffee is strong, with hints of the roast and helping of booziness for good measure. Exactly what you'd hope for.

T - This confirms what you've hoped. A full, robust hit of coffee and lush fruit and chocolate notes, but nothing out of balance or overpowering here. Delicious.

M - Clean. This beer could easily tip into heaviness, but it manages to avoid it.

O - This represents an excellent example of the style. The coffee, which is a natural match for the chocolate notes so common with stouts, but can come off as an afterthought with some "coffee" or "espresso" stouts, is front and center and a welcome addition to Stone's already fine Imperial Russian Stout.

Photo of TBoneJones
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.75

Stone Espresso bottled March in '13 (posted from prior tasting notes)
Deep black with a frothy tan head.
Nose is cocoa, dark chocolate, coffee, licorice, raisin.
Taste is strong roasted coffee and malts. Bold, bitter stout with enough sweetness rolling in on the backend to make this Stone stout a favorite (surpasses their regular RIS of this same year in my book). I didn't realize to check the abv until after I took a couple of initial sips; I noticed that while I barely smelled any, I can tell this is a bit above the 9% I assumed it was.
Mouth feels nice and thick, smooth. Certainly more drinkable than you'd expect with an 11% abv.
A highly impressive stout. I wish this was the regular RIS of the year; the espresso played not the central role, but instead was a contributing factor to a very well-rounded, creamy, top-notch imperial stout.

Photo of tmbgnicu
4.81/5  rDev +10.8%
look: 4.75 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Had this on tap at Sabatini's in Exeter, PA. Quite frankly, this is my favorite non BA stout. It pours black as night, it smells of coffee, caramel, heady malt. The taste is incredible, liked being hugged by a cup of coffee, it's clean and crisp but maintains the characteristics you expect from a stout. I have two bottles of this sitting in my cellar, and I can't wait to open one. I wish Stone brewed this one every year.

Photo of Dakotah
4.8/5  rDev +10.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Poured from a bomber for review, also had on draft..

Pours a deeeep brown, noir color. small, thick head reminiscent of actual espresso shot

Nose is a bit of booze, chocolate, coffee, and roasty nuttiness.

Taste is a lot of the same, only you lose the boozieness, love it. Creamy coffee, chocolate, which is more of a dry, cocoa taste..

Mouthfeel out of the bottle is lighter and less creamy, still very good, but better on draft. Light, but covering.

Over all this is on delicious IRS. you can hardly tell it comes in at 11%, and has great character.

Photo of jageraholic
4.78/5  rDev +10.1%
look: 5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

Sitiing outside by the smoker on a day off. Giving a 100% attention to this beer. Love the original Stone IRS, lets give this odd one a try.

Appearance: Perfect. Rough pour into my IRS tulp. Pitch black in the bottom. Dark brown at the top. Brownish 3/4 inch head forms at the top with the pour and over time drops down to a thin line. Beautifl lacing sticks to the glass and the lacing swirl effect is entrancing.

Smell: chocolate, molasses, some tobacco, mild anise, less coffee than expected but its there, and even a little vanilla. Reminds me a lot of the southern tier Mokah.

Taste: lot of chocolate up front and coffee is there and a great addition. Some hop bitterness, burnt bread and molasses sticks around til the end. Still getting some vanilla and even maybe caramel. Is this barrel aged at all? Sweeter than the original. Not sure if they changed anything else besides the coffee addition. Has an alcohol finish being fresh.

Mouthfeel: coats the mouth fantastically. As I take a sip and watch the lacing drop from the top back into the beer, i can feel it happening in my mouth. More carbed than i expected. I like how its not as thick as Mokah. I feel like i can finish this bomber without feeling way too full.

Overall: fantasic beer. Anise last time wasnt for me but this odd year edition is fantastic. Need to buy more to age, i think this will evolve incredibly. Might even be better than the original, but maybe the strength is just making me feel good. Hides the high abv well but its still there which some aging will take care of. Cant wait for the second half of this bottle. Thank you Stone for another gem!

Photo of GreesyFizeek
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

What an incredible beer. 22 oz bottle purchased at the Hess in Bushnell's Basin, and poured in two segments into a tulip.

The beer pours dark and sexy. The head is also very dark, looks like dark chocolate ice cream on top of the beer. Laces very well down the glass, looks like latticework or a spiderweb.

Smells awesome. Tons of coffee, bit of creamy vanilla, lots of roastiness.

Tastes even better. One of the best coffee flavors you'll ever find in a beer. The sweetness of the base beer, made possible by great chocolate flavors, mixes so well with the bitter espresso coffee flavor. Yin and yang, really. No alcohol really present. Very roasty as well.

Great mouthfeel. Coats your mouth and the glass, begging to be drunk more.

Exemplary coffee stout. My favorite beer from Stone.

Photo of craftbeersweden
4.77/5  rDev +9.9%
look: 5 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

Bottle from Systembolaget in Sweden.

A clear, dark brown, almoust black beer. One finger high head with a beigebrown colour.

Nose: Roasted malt, espresso coffee, cream, dark bread, vanilla icecream, dark chocolate, dried fruit and vanille.

Taste: Espresso, roasted malt, licorice, hops and oak. A creamy mouthfeel with a soft texture.
The alcohol is well hidden. A great sweetness from the malt that is balanced of the bitternes from the coffee.

GREAT imperial stout! - Go get it!

Photo of Kuaff
4.76/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

I experienced a bomber of this last night. WHAT an experience! Into my snifter at cellar temperature, it went.

Espresso IRS LOOKS pretty much the same as the non-espresso version. A one-finger mocha head and a beautifully, banefully, balefully black body.

I give the aroma a five because I just really can't imagine it being much better. The standard IRS already has a fantastic scent, but THIS one's is both better AND stronger. Sweet, milky chocolate, raisins, prunes, vanilla extract, and bold, roasty espresso! And there's something else that keeps teasing and tantalizing my nostrils in tandem with all of this... something hiding in the vapors that emanate up from my snifter. Like a mysterious, leathery smokiness or something. That's how I'd describe it, but it's... kind of transient... like a ghost. An imperial stout with a haunted aroma! Mwahahahahaaaa...

All of the flavors of standard IRS return here in the same harmony they had already achieved in the original, but now the flavor profile has been injected with a noticeably higher dose of roasty, earthy espresso. The espresso wraps itself around and folds itself into the stock IRS flavors (see my review of that one for details) in an incredible way, somehow amplifying and enhancing the overall taste. It's kind of like how French cooks expertly fold layers of butter into dough when making croissants to create a delectable culinary masterpiece. Here, Brewers in San Diego have expertly folded espresso "into the fold" of what was already a near-flawless beer, creating an amazing alcoholic art piece.

Alcohol is just as well-masked in this one as in the original, and the ABV's been kicked UP from the original's 10.6% to 11% ta boot. Not bad. Nicely (and treacherously) concealed. The aftertaste leaves me feeling like I just ate a chocolate (rich, gourmet chocolate, mind you), and that's EXACTLY what I want my imperial stouts to do to me. I love an alcoholic beverage that appeases the chocoholic within me, hehe. As a final note on the taste, I also get some woodiness and maple syrup lingering along-side the expected roastiness in the fantastic finish. To sum up these last two paragraphs on the taste... devilishly DIVINE.

The feel is much like the standard IRS's, which didn't really need improving. It's got that "imperial," velvety viscosity. What's not to love?

It's so delicious that I wanna drink it faster! But I know I shouldn't. Yeah, it's one of THOSE kinds of beers... those darn deceptively alluring, potent brews that just have too much alcohol for their drinkability. And I don't mean it to sound like that's bad thing. It's an AWESOME thing. But the admonishment about how this stuff is almost "evil"in the customary Stone ale exposition on the back of the bottle... that warning is worth heeding. And hilariously fun to read.

Espresso Imperial Russian Stout might be my favorite of the whole style. And there are a LOT of contenders out there setting the bar high for Russian imperial stouts. Every once in a while I'm fortunate enough to taste something like this that rises sufficiently high enough above that bar for me to be able to say... it's out of this world!

Photo of DaftCaskBC
4.76/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4.25 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.75

A: Slight mocha head around the edges of the glass over black liquid.

S: Espresso, chocolate and toffee.

T: Chocolate, espresso, toffee, aspirin, and caramel.

M: Thick viscosity and a medium to low level of carbonation.

O: Unbelievably tasty, a beautiful beer. This just hits all the right notes.

Photo of Topher78
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.75 | smell: 4.75 | taste: 4.75 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 4.75

This poured inky black with about a finger and a half worth of a mocha colored head. The aroma was of chocolate, toffee, vanilla and of course...ESPRESSO. The flavor followed the nose almost exactly, with the espresso tying all the other flavors together nicely. This beer drank smooth as silk and I could hardly detect the alcohol...scary! What a truly magnificent beer!!!

Photo of MaineBrewing
4.75/5  rDev +9.4%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.75 | overall: 5

A - poured a pitch black oil color with dark tan 1.5 finger head. Absolutely no light showing through abyss. Sticky lacing and a smooth creamy cap.

S - up front is roasted malt dark roast coffee beans. Bakers chocolate and vanilla.

T - very complex deep malt forward character with coffee throughout finishes very bitter with loads of hops and coffee grind flavor. Very intense, and enjoyable.

M - Thick with medium carbonation, certainly a slow sipper.

O - overall this is just a big beer, maybe not truest to the RIS style, overly hoppy and bitter, coffee throughout. Very enjoyable. Probably not the most descriptive review I've ever written I am distracted by this delicious beer and am going to kill the other half of the bomber now, hope they make this again because it is just plain ridiculously good.

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Espresso Imperial Russian Stout from Stone Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 2,683 ratings.